There’s no denying it: capturing a compelling picture of a corporate or business event can be a challenge. After all, shots of people in suits networking at a conference can start to blend together. But boring corporate event photography doesn’t just reflect poorly on your brand — it can also hurt registrations. In fact, consumers use imagery as a primary way to determine the value of an event before they register.
Hope isn’t lost. There are ways to capture photos of corporate events that are unique and spark the interest of potential attendees. Here are some tips for creating compelling corporate event photos that will sell registrations.
Corporate Event Photography Tip #1: Know how you plan on using the photos
When planning photography for a corporate event or conference, it’s tempting to say that you’ll use them everywhere. But think about what you actually need to promote your event. If its social media first and foremost, you’ll need photos that can be cropped and work as a square on mediums like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If you need to create posters or banners, you’ll need shots that can work on a larger scale or even narrow dimensions.
If you run recurring events and want shots from one event to be used for marketing year-round, be sure to avoid any seasonal details or anything that can quickly date your corporate event photography. For example, you wouldn’t want to use shots of people rugged up to promote a summer rooftop networking event.
Corporate Event Photography Tip #2: Write a photography brief
No matter who is shooting your event – be it a seasoned professional or your marketing intern – always prepare a brief.
It’s important not to rely on your photographer to know what shots you need. If there are certain shots (e.g. speakers, sponsors, stakeholders, product etc) that you really need, be explicit and create a list. If there are key features of your event or attendees who you would like to be photographed, point them out.
A brief could be a comprehensive description of the vibe you’re trying to capture, or as simple as a dot-point list of ‘must haves’ and things to avoid. Having everything in writing not only makes the photographer’s life easier while working the crowd, it will also be helpful in assessing whether or not they have all the required shots before they finish up.
Corporate Event Photography Tip #3: Shoot from creative angles
If you’re hosting a business event or dinner where everyone is seated, you may have to get creative with composition to get a variety of images. Utilise interesting angles and perspectives so the shot isn’t so utilitarian. Interesting angle can create interesting photos. Try to look at the event from an outsider’s perspective and get shots that capture the atmosphere and broader sense of the event.
Corporate Event Photography Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to have fun with posed shots
While most corporate events will want a variety of shots of attendees — both candid and posed (or “grip and grin” shots, as photographers call them) — challenge yourself to get more playful.
Stay away from a long series of the same posed shots of people. Unless your subjects are famous or look particularly interesting, it’s going to get very repetitive and doesn’t say much about your event.
Corporate Event Photography Tip #5: Rely on natural lighting as much as possible
Try to take advantage of the natural lighting in your venue, and avoid using flash (especially on-camera flash).
Unnatural light makes your image inherently feel like a photograph, and takes viewers out of the moment. If you really need to use flash, consider investing in event photography equipment like an off-camera flash.
If you do need flash and are taking shots of attendees, have them turn slightly to the side so they’re not facing the camera head-on. This will reduce red eye in your pictures, because that’s caused when light enters the subject’s eyes at a right angle.
Corporate Event Photography Tip #6: Get abstract shots that aren’t focused on individuals
While it’s important to get shots of attendees having fun, it’s also important to get more abstract shots that aren’t focused on individuals and faces. This is especially true if you’ll be using your corporate event photography for marketing.
As people, we focus on faces. But if you’re trying to portray a professional event, it may be easier for a potential attendee to imagine themselves within the scene of an abstract image with a slight blur. If you’re running a keynote or seminar session, focusing on the quiet audience as they concentrate, rather than what they are viewing, could risk coming across as dull and unappealing.
Corporate Event Photography Tip #7: Work around fluorescent lights
If your event takes place in a large conference hall or meeting room, you’re likely stuck with fluorescent lights – a photographer’s nightmare. In this instance, colour balance settings will be key for your corporate event photography.
Use a custom white balance to even out the fluorescent tone you get. By correcting for that while you’re shooting, you avoid that yellow-jaundice skin tone colour that can be created from an artificial lighting situation. If you’re inside, you can bounce light off the walls or ceiling to make for a more natural feel.
Corporate Event Photography Tip #8: Make your shots feel inclusive and diverse
If you’re looking to attract a wide and diverse audience to your events, try to reflect this in your photography. For example, a lot of tech events have traditionally attracted an audience that skews towards young white males. If all of your event photography depicts this, you can inadvertently reinforce stereotypes and feel less inclusive toward female attendees.
Corporate Event Photography Tip #9: Invest in good photography
Professional photography is an easy line item to cull when budgets are tight. After all, almost everyone holds a powerful camera in their pockets with the right smartphone. But if you go back and review your plan for how to intend to use the images, you may realise that the right photography could be a worthwhile investment in your event marketing.
Ask peers in the event industry for recommendations of well-regarded event photographers. If you’re having trouble finding the right person for your corporate event, you could also ask your venue if they have an in-house photographer or can recommend someone that is well acquainted with their space.
The Ultimate Guide to Event Photography
To make sure your photos are saying what you want them to, download this free guide packed with insights from seven professional event photographers and designers.